Wednesday, May 31, 2023


June Haver never became a big star in Hollywood like other glamour girls like Betty Grable and Alice Faye, but she made many enjoyable appearances on film. In the summer of 1942, Haver moved to Hollywood, where she finished high school. She acted in plays in her spare time, and during a performance as a southern belle, she was discovered by a scout from 20th Century Fox. In 1943, Haver signed a $3,500-a-week contract with the studio and made her film debut playing an uncredited role as a hat-check girl in The Gang's All Here. She was dropped shortly after, because the studio executives felt that she looked too young, but was later resigned, after her costume and hairstyle were changed.

20th Century Fox had plans to mold Haver as a glamour girl stand-in for the studio's two biggest stars, Alice Faye and Betty Grable. She debuted on screen in a supporting role as Cri-Cri in Home in Indiana (1944). According to the actress, she had just turned 17 years old when her scenes were filmed. Even before Home in Indiana was released, she was assigned to replace Alice Faye in the Technicolor-musical, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. Later that year, she co-starred with her future husband, Fred MacMurray, in Where Do We Go From Here?, which was the only time the pair appeared together in a film.

During her career at Fox, Haver was originally groomed to be the next Betty Grable (standing a diminutive 5'2", she was known as "Pocket Grable"). She even co-starred with Grable in the 1945 film, The Dolly Sisters, for which she had to put on weight. While filming, rumors about a possible clash between the two actresses arose, mostly because of their frequent comparison, but Haver refuted this with: "Betty is a big star and I'm just starting. I try to be nice to her, and she reciprocated by being just as nice to me. It's silly to think two girls can't work together without quarreling. You see, I've two sisters. I'm the ham between the bread and butter — the middle sister — and I understand girls pretty well. Betty likes to talk about her baby, so we talk about her baby."

Following her marriage to Fred MacMurray in 1954, Haver remained largely retired from acting (her last appearances were as herself on The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour in 1958 and Disneyland '59). June Haver's final film appearance was in 1953's The Girl Next Door. Haver and MacMurray adopted two daughters and remained together until MacMurray's death in 1991.

At the urging of friends Ann Miller and Ann Rutherford, Haver finally joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the age of 75. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, June Haver has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1777 Vine Street. Due to June making her last film in 1953, the memory of June Haver continue to fade. When she died of heart failure in 2005 at the age of 79, she was largely forgotten. However, her talent and beauty lives on in his movies that she made...

Tuesday, May 30, 2023


My 10 year old loves Disney princesses. She is my princess after all. I have never seen the cartoon version of The Little Mermaid, so I wasn't too excited about this life action adaptation, but this past weekend I went to the theatre with my daughter and was pleasantly surprised. The film was directed by Rob Marshall from a screenplay written by David Magee. Co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Lucamar Productions, and Marc Platt Productions, it is a live-action adaptation of Disney's 1989 animated film of the same name, itself loosely based on the 1837 fairy tale of the same title by Hans Christian Andersen. The film stars Halle Bailey in the titular role, alongside Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, Noma Dumezweni, Art Malik, Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy. The Little Mermaid follows a mermaid princess Ariel who is fascinated with the human world and makes a deal with a treacherous sea witch Ursula to trade her voice to human legs in order to impress Prince Eric, who is saved from a shipwreck, before the time runs out.

Plans for a remake of 1989's The Little Mermaid were confirmed in May 2016. In December 2017, Disney announced Marshall was being courted to direct the film. Bailey, Tremblay, Awkwafina and the rest of the cast signed on between July to November 2019. Production was expected to begin in London between late March and early April 2020 but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming ultimately took place primarily at Pinewood Studios in England and in the island of Sardinia, Italy, from January to July 2021. Composer Alan Menken, who worked on the original film's soundtrack, returned to compose the score and write new songs alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda, who serves as a producer with Platt, John DeLuca and Marshall. The film is dedicated to the late Howard Ashman, who co-produced and co-wrote the songs from the original film.The Little Mermaid premiered in Los Angeles on May 8, 2023.

I didn't think I would like Hallee Bailey, a newcomer in the role, but the coming attractions did not do her justice. She was great in the role. I do not like Melissa McCarthy, but she really captured the role of Ursula and made it her own. My only complaint is the costume for the sea mermaids when they came out of water. They looked really hooky, and especially the king. The king looked like an old man wearing a cheap costume in water. Despite that, the movie is quite watchable, the music and color is fun, and I was happy to be able to see a live action Disney princess with my own princess. We also saw the movie in 3D which was breath taking. I liked the 2017 live action movie "Beauty And The Beast" more, but this was a surprisingly good adaptation as well...


Sunday, May 28, 2023


 URBAN LEGEND: Was Fred Astaire a skateboarder?

ANSWER: Yes indeed!

Fred Astaire was more than his generation’s most widely acclaimed dancer. Always up for new challenges, and a man who clearly loved to move, he took up skateboarding after he finally retired from dancing.

Astaire was awarded a Lifetime Membership to the National Skate Board Society of America — he brought name recognition to the sport which was not then the worldwide phenomenon it is today. He took up skateboarding with his grandchildren, and he was quite good at it. At seventy-eight, he broke his left wrist while skateboarding in his driveway doing a complicated stunt! At the time Astaire remarked: "Gene Kelly warned me not to be a damned fool, but I’d seen the things those kids got up to on television doing all sorts of tricks. What a routine I could have worked up for a film sequence if they had existed a few years ago."

Friday, May 26, 2023


Ed Ames, a member of the Ames Brothers singing quartet who starred in TV series “Daniel Boone” in the 1960s, died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 95.

Ed Ames and his brothers Vic, Joe and Gene had a hit with their version of “Rag Mop” in 1950. As a solo artist, he had hits with “Who Will Answer?,” “My Cup Runneth Over” and “Try to Remember.” In the 1950s, they had a syndicated TV program, “The Ames Brothers Show,” and 49 songs that charted before they broke up in 1963.

He then launched an acting career, which included off-Broadway performances in “The Crucible” and “The Fantasticks,” as well as a starring role on Broadway in “Carnival!” He starred with Kirk Douglas, Gene Wilder and William Daniels in the Broadway production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Although his background was Russian Jewish, Ames was cast several times as a Native American, and played Mingo, a Cherokee Indian character with a British father, for several seasons of the Fess Parker Western “Daniel Boone.”

He became known for his skill in throwing a tomahawk, and on “The Tonight Show” in 1965, he demonstrated his skill for Johnny Carson on a wood panel with an outline of a cowboy. When Ames hit the figure squarely in the groin, Carson ad-libbed: “I didn’t even know you were Jewish!” and then “Welcome to Frontier Bris.” The saucy response caused the studio audience to laugh for four minutes, which has been reported to be the longest laugh by a studio audience in television history.

He also made guest appearances on shows including “The Rifleman,” “McCloud,” “Murder She Wrote,” “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “Jake and the Fatman.”

Born on July 9, 1927 in Malden, Mass., Ames was the youngest of nine children, and later received a B.A. in theater and cinema arts from UCLA in 1975.

He is survived by his wife Jeanne; two children, Ronald and Sonya, seven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and stepson Stephen Saviano. Another daughter, Marcella, predeceased him.Ed made his last public appearances and performances around 2017...

Sunday, May 21, 2023


By the late 1940s, entertainer Eddie Cantor was beginning to wind down on his movie career. Cantor produced and starred in a movie, Show Business, with comedienne Joan Davis and future California U. S. senator George Murphy in 1944 for RKO Pictures. Another movie followed in 1948 called If You Knew Susie, but the film was a flop. Eddie concentrated on his still successful radio show and remained busy raising money for his favorite charities. Cantor made the occasional movie but by 1950, his film career was all but over. Yet there was the new medium of television and Cantor topped that as well. Eddie Cantor was one of the original hosts of the Colgate Comedy Hour, alternating hosting duties with some of the biggest names in show business at the time. Abbott and Costello, Martin and Lewis (that would be Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis for some of our younger readers), and Donald O’Connor all headlined the variety show on alternating weeks.

Cantor’s appearances were highly rated and popular. Known for decades for his energy while performing, Eddie Cantor actually suffered a heart attack during one of the live performances. Ever the consummate professional, Cantor gave little indication he was ill, much less having a heart attack. From that point on, Eddie Cantor’s energy diminished significantly and he was not the same entertainer.

Warner Brothers issued a movie based on Cantor’s life, The Eddie Cantor Story. Not surprisingly, it was a highly fictionalized version of the famed comedian’s life, featuring an unknown performer as Cantor. The film was a disaster, although Cantor recorded all the songs for the movie and his voice remained amazingly good. Even with his famed energy ebbing, Cantor pushed himself on behalf of raising money for charity. Once Cantor was promoting the sale of Israeli bonds and urged his friend Jack Benny to purchase some. Benny handed Cantor a blank check and said, “Eddie, here is a blank check. Fill it out in the amount you think I should buy and I will sign it.”

Eddie Cantor hurriedly wrote in an amount well into the five figures and true to his word, Jack Benny signed it.

With his energy flagging after repeated heart attacks, Eddie Cantor’s career began to wind down. Cantor sold the magnificent house on Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, moving to a smaller home with his wife. Cantor’s daughters were grown and off living their own lives, save for his eldest, Marjorie. Marjorie Cantor had devoted herself to her father and his career. When Eddie Cantor failed to worry, Marjorie worried for him. Marjorie was involved in every facet of her father’s professional life. With both of her parents suffering from heart trouble, Marjorie worried even more.

Noticing a growth on her leg, Marjorie discovered it was cancer. Despite numerous treatments, the cancer was remorseless and relentless, ravaging Marjorie’s body. Ida Cantor, accompanying her daughter to the hospital once, was aghast when she saw her daughter undressing and saw just how emaciated Marjorie had become. Marjorie finally lost her battle with cancer, dying in 1959. She was only forty-four years old.

Both Eddie and Ida Cantor were utterly devastated by Marjorie’s death and neither was ever well again. Eddie’s heart condition was so bad that he was virtually confined to his home. Ida wasn’t doing much better and finally her own heart failed in the summer of 1962. Cantor was thoroughly depressed by having lost his oldest child and wife within a short span of three years. The comedian sold the Palm Springs home that Ida had bought for him as a surprise for very little.

Housebound, Eddie Cantor lived out his remaining years in Beverly Hills, surrounded by his daughters and grandchildren. On October 10, 1964, Eddie Cantor’s ailing heart finally gave out.

Hardly perfect, old fashioned, and “corny” to some, despite his flaws, Eddie Cantor was a legendary entertainer...

Friday, May 19, 2023


Here is the obituary for bandleader Lawrence Welk as it appeared in Chicago Tribune on May 19, 1992 - 31 years ago today!

Lawrence Welk, the band leader whose folksy charm and bubbly brand of

''Champagne music'' shaped the longest-running show in television history, died on Sunday evening at his home in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 89.

Mr. Welk had been suffering from pneumonia and dementia in recent days, said Bernice McGeehan, a spokeswoman for the Welk Group.

With diligence, drive and a cheery ''ah-one an` ah-two,'' the self-taught maestro became one of a handful of television entertainers who defined the viewing habits of a generation.

He rose from an immigrant farm family in a German-speaking hamlet in North Dakota to become one of the nation`s favorite entertainers.

The buoyant Mr. Welk presided over ''The Lawrence Welk Show'' on ABC on Saturday evenings from 1955 to 1971, when the show was dropped because sponsors said its audience was too old, too rural and too sedate.

Undaunted, Mr. Welk signed up more than 250 independent television stations in the U.S. and Canada and kept the show on television for 11 more years. Repackaged as ''Memories With Lawrence Welk,'' the show has been appearing on public television on Sunday afternoons since 1987.

Mr. Welk was a strict taskmaster, demanding from his performers hard work, thrift and self-discipline. He kept his musical family-stalwarts like the ''champagne lady,'' Norma Zimmer, and the Lennon Sisters-basically intact, at times even by arbitrating marital disputes. These are some of the professional precepts on which he insisted:

''You have to play what the people understand.''

''Keep it simple so the audience can feel like they can do it too.''

''Champagne music puts the girl back in the boy`s arms-where she belongs.''

''He was really on the pulse of his audience. We did three tours a year to find out what the people wanted to hear,'' said Bobby Burgess, a dancer on the Welk show from 1961 to 1982. ''They had to be able to feel that they could dance along with us.''

Over the decades, Mr. Welk became, after Bob Hope, the second-wealthiest performer in show business, and his band and production company became the second-biggest tourist draw of Southern California, behind Disneyland.

Components of the multimillion-dollar Welk conglomerate include a large music library and ownership of the lucrative royalty rights to 20,000 songs.

Among them are the entire body of Jerome Kern`s work, which Mr. Welk bought for $3.2 million in 1970. The heart of the real estate empire was the Lawrence Welk Village, a 1,000-acre resort-and-retirement complex at Escondido, Calif., near San Diego.

The Welk dance band offered an easy mix of pop, swing, Dixieland, country, Latin, polkas and inspirational music. Detractors called it tinkly Mickey Mouse music dispensed to geriatric audiences.

Fans adored the sentimental show as a constant in a changing world and as a reassuring time capsule of a simpler, happier time.

Mr. Welk was born on March 11, 1903, in a sod farmhouse in the prairie village of Strasburg, N.D., one of eight children of the former Christine Schwab and Ludwig Welk, immigrants from Alsace-Lorraine, a region of France that was once part of Germany.

His father was a blacksmith turned farmer. The boy dropped out of the fourth grade to farm full-time until he was 21.

At night, his father taught him to play an inexpensive accordion, and from the age of 13 he earned money playing at social gatherings. At 17, he played in local bands and formed a group, the three-piece Biggest Little Band in America, to help inaugurate radio station WNAX in Yankton, S.D.

At 21, he announced he was leaving the farm for a life as a musician.

''You`ll be back,'' his father predicted. ''You`ll be back just as soon as you get hungry.''

At 24, he put together a six-piece band called the Hotsy-Totsy Boys. He also bought and operated a series of small businesses, one of which featured an accordion-shaped grill that served a product called squeezeburgers.

These projects failed, but his fortunes improved as he led bigger bands in ballrooms and hotels in bigger towns and on radio, mostly in the Midwest.

He then moved to Los Angeles, where his show was first telecast. In 1955, when he was 52, his coast-to-coast television program began its record run.

Still, he never overcame his shyness and used prompters to make even brief announcements. He rejected cigarette and beer advertising, hired no comedians for fear of off-color jokes and deleted suggestive lyrics from the orchestra`s material. His honors included playing at the 1957 inaugural ball of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Mr. Welk recounted his life and its lessons in several popular books written with McGeehan, including ''Wunnerful, Wunnerful!'' (1971) and ''Ah-One, Ah-Two!'' (1974).

He is survived by his wife, the former Fern Renner; a son, Lawrence Jr.; two daughters, Shirley Fredricks and Donna Mack; and eight grandchildren...

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


A macabre account of how bodies of Titanic victims were found in the doomed vessel’s final missing lifeboat a month after the disaster has surfaced after 104 years. The three male corpses were discovered in the collapsable boat 200 miles from the wreck site by the passing British liner RMS Oceanic on May 13, 1912. The small craft was later identified as Collapsible Boat A, the last available lifeboat from the Titanic.The boat was never launched from the ill-fated liner after it struck an iceberg and started sinking on the night of April 14, 1912.

It was washed over the side when the Titanic disappeared beneath the waves and about 30 people in the freezing water climbed on it in a desperate attempt to survive. Most of them succumbed to exposure and died and 12 were rescued by another lifeboat before the collapsible boat was allowed to drift away.

The three corpses are believed to be two firemen from the engine room and first class passenger homson Beattie, 37, who was dressed in his dinner jacket. After seeing the lifeboat drifting in the water, the Oceanic’s captain manoeuvred the ship towards the object in the water.The crew and passengers goulishly watched with binoculars as it dawned on them there were bodies still on board. The eye-witness account described how the corpses were unrecognisable. It is not known who the Oceanic passenger was who wrote the description, which states: “I crossed the Atlantic one month after the Titanic catastrophe.

"We picked up one of the lifeboats with two minorities unrecognisable corpses of a passenger in evening dress and two firemen.

“The arms came off in the hands of the Oceanic boarding officer.

“The bodies were buried and a prayer service read. The lifeboat then hauled on to our deck.”

One picture shows six crew members being lowered on an Oceanic lifeboat into the Atlantic while a second shows the small boat rowing towards the object in the water in the distance. A wedding ring bearing the inscription ‘Edward to Gerda’ was also found on the boat....

Sunday, May 14, 2023


For this Mother's Day we are going to spotlight one of the biggest stage mother's in history - Ethel Gumm, the mother of Judy Garland. Mrs. Gumm was partially responsible for Judy Garland's downfall. Here are some pictures of the mother/daughter together...

Wednesday, May 10, 2023


Dancer and actor Dan Dailey had been with MGM studios when World War II broke out. When Dailey returned to Hollywood MGM did not renew his contract, which led him to sign a contract with 20th Century Fox. Their association began brilliantly with Mother Wore Tights (1947) in which Dailey supported the studio's biggest star, Betty Grable. His part was built up during filming and the movie was Fox's most popular movie of 1947, making $5 million. 

Fox promptly cast Dailey opposite their other big female star, Jeanne Crain, in You Were Meant for Me (1948). It was directed by Lloyd Bacon who also directed him in Give My Regards to Broadway (1948). Dailey was reunited with Grable in When My Baby Smiles at Me (1948). It was Fox's biggest hit of the year and garnered Dailey an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor at the 21st Academy Awards. Fox tried Dailey in a comedy, Chicken Every Sunday (1949) with Celeste Holm, then he teamed with Anne Baxter in the popular musical You're My Everything (1949). In 1949, he showcased his singing abilities by recording four songs for Decca Records with the popular Andrews Sisters. Two of the songs were Irish novelties ("Clancy Lowered the Boom!" and "I Had a Hat (When I Came In)"). The other songs, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and "In the Good Old Summer Time", capitalized on the success of two MGM blockbuster films of the same names, starring Gene Kelly, Esther Williams, and Frank Sinatra (Take Me Out to the Ball Game); and Judy Garland and Van Johnson (In the Good Old Summertime). Dailey and The Andrews Sisters were an excellent match, and their vocal stylings were full of gaiety and fun. 

Dailey starred in a film for John Ford, When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950) which was a mild success at the box office. He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy in 1951. More popular was a third teaming with Grable, My Blue Heaven (1950). He made a cameo in I'll Get By (1950). Dailey was reunited with Anne Baxter in A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950), often noted as one of the first screen appearances of Marilyn Monroe, who played a very small part as a dance hall girl. He made a fourth (and final) film with Grable, Call Me Mister (1951). Fox tried Dailey in a romantic drama, I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1951), playing opposite Susan Hayward. Then he was in a biopic, The Pride of St. Louis (1951), as the baseball player Dizzy Dean. Dailey made a second film with Ford, a remake of What Price Glory (1952), where he teamed with James Cagney. Universal borrowed him for a musical, Meet Me at the Fair (1953). Fox put him in a drama, Taxi (1953), then a musical with June Haver, The Girl Next Door (1953). He did another baseball-themed film, The Kid from Left Field (1953). 

In 1954 Dailey signed a new seven-year contract with Fox. Dailey was scheduled to appear in the 20th Century Fox musical extravaganza There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), which featured Irving Berlin's music and also starred Monroe, Ethel Merman, Mitzi Gaynor, Johnnie Ray, and Donald O'Connor, whose wife Gwen divorced him and married Dailey around that time. Filming was delayed due to director Walter Lang's poor health. Dailey agreed to appear in Susan Slept Here and Heller in Pink Tights. But Susan ended up being made with Dick Powell and Pink Tights was postponed. Eventually There's No Business Like Show Business was made and proved to be Dailey's biggest hit in a long time. Dailey returned to Fox for one more musical, The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956) to play songwriter Ray Henderson opposite Gordon MacRae. However, after that film he ended his time with 20th Century Fox and returned to MGM as the days of the big movie musical was almost over...

Sunday, May 7, 2023


Who inherited Marilyn Monroe’s estate? Per Monroe’s will, Monroe gave $10,000 each to her longtime assistant and to her half-sister. She put $5,000 in a trust fund for the education of her assistant’s child, and she left a $100,000 trust fund for her mother. 75 percent of Monroe’s intellectual property and estate were left to her acting coach, Lee Strasberg, and the remaining 25 percent was given to her New York psychiatrist Dr. Marianne Kris. “She felt that [Kris] was very helpful and sympathetic,” Sarah Churchwell, author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, told NPR in 2012. “She found that [Kris] was starting to help her understand what it was that she was going through.” After Dr. Kris died, a portion of her estate was transferred to the Anna Freud Centre in London, which works with children experiencing mental health issues. “That would have made [Monroe] really happy,” Churchwell said. “She did want to do good, and she wanted to feel as if she had accomplished something.”

When Monroe’s acting coach Strasberg died in 1982, his second wife Anna Mizrahi inherited Monroe’s estate and hired CMG Worldwide—a company that manages the estates of dead celebrities—to license Monroe merchandise and that’s when the Some Like It Hot star really started bringing in the big bucks. “We did hundreds and hundreds of programs with companies like Mercedes-Benz to Coca-Cola to fragrance, clothing, giftware, collectibles, paper products, things like that,” CMG CEO Mark Roesler told NPR. Mizrahi made Monroe one of the highest-paid dead celebrities in the world, according to Forbes. Marilyn Monroe LLC was established and between the years 1996 and 2000, she made more than $7.5 million in licensing revenue.

Monroe’s will stated that she wanted her personal effects and clothing to go to her friends and colleagues, but Mizrahi commissioned auctioneer’s Christies to sell off the items in 1999, including the famous peach-and-rhinestone dress she wore to sing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy (and which Kim Kardashian infamously wore to the Met Gala in 2022). The dress went for more than $1 million (it was sold again in 2016 for $4.8 million to Ripley Entertainment). Monroe’s cherished grand piano sold for $600,000 to pop icon Mariah Carey. “I wish her things didn’t have to be auctioned off,” Carey said at the time. “It’s a shame—I wish somebody had the money to buy it all and put it in a museum.” In 2011, Mizrahi sold her 75 percent stake in Monroe’s estate to Authentic Brands group for a deal estimated to be between $20-30 million...